Robert Reich is a former secretary of labor from the Clinton administration as well as a professor, author, and star of a prize-winning documentary, Inequality for All. His social media posts are extremely popular because Reich has a special way of articulating simple and clear truth about the fairly complicated matters of government and society.
His latest post is no exception. Tackling the issue of Trump’s consideration of his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, for official White House administration positions, Reich boiled the issues with this down to their truly disturbing core.
‘Is anyone else uneasy about Trump’s daughter and son-in-law becoming White House advisors to President Trump? It’s not just their extensive Trump business holdings and conflicts of interest that worry me. It’s also their family ties.
‘We’ve elected a president, not a king.
‘A president hires advisors. A king bestows privileges and titles on his family.
‘A president wants advice from experts who will tell him what’s in America’s best interest. A king wants advice from people who will tell him what’s in his own personal best interest.
‘A president assembles a White House staff. A king assembles a court.
‘A president dismisses advisors who don’t perform. A king doesn’t get rid of family members, except when he cuts off their heads.’
Robert Reich calls up a particular image that has hovered, unnamed, at the back of horrified voters’ minds since Trump won the election. It isn’t about whether or not Trump’s cabinet decisions, his “Thank You Tour” rhetoric, or his consideration of family members for White House positions are legal or whether or not they are “anti-establishment” choices. It is about what the entirety of Trump’s decision-making indicates as a whole.
It indicates that Trump does not in any way, despite his election to the highest office in the land, understand what the actual role of a president should be.
Instead of working to bring an extremely divided nation together now that he’s won the presidency, Trump has used his “Thank You Tour” to further bash his enemies in an attempt to harm them, but with a new sense of impunity. There’s no election to lose, so Trump can stay just as crazy as he was but without worrying about the backlash. He still doesn’t understand why that’s so wrong.
Trump’s cabinet appointees are each unfailingly alarming on their own way, but the fact that each one has some previous tie to Trump, whether that tie be a personal friendship or campaign support, indicates that Trump’s interest is not in selecting appointees to lead the country well, but to reward his most loyal subjects.
His consideration of his daughter and her husband for actual, official positions in the White House is not illegal and Trump’s transition team would most likely argue that Trump wants to defy convention and shake things up, but there’s a reason that some conventions exist.
Trump still doesn’t quite get that, though, and it’s not looking too likely that he ever will.
Featured image via Getty/Bloomberg